Russia's seafood market gearing up to make another big leap: CATCH TRENDS

April 10, 2007 09:59

Based on catch dynamics, trends in imported production and domestic output, the total capacity of the Russian seafood market is set to double by 2010. The projection is based on the conservative growth estimate of 13-15% annually. The highest rates of fish consumption would be reached by this time: about 22-24 kilos per capita matching the figures of 1987-1989, when the total catch of Russia proper stood at 8.4 million metric tons while the USSR as a whole harvested 11.1-11.4 million metric tons, writes Timur Mitupov, head of analytical and investment group of Moscow-based major importers and distributors OOO "Norge-Fish" (ltd).

Dynamics of Russian Catch 

Catch trends

In accordance with provisional figures of Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency ROSRYBOLOVSTVO, the Russian catch in 2006 amounted to ca. 3.2 million tonnes displaying a rise of 1-1.4% on 2005 or 22,000-25,000 tonnes more in absolute terms.

The Russian fishing fleet currently numbers 2491 sea-going vessels from which 50% have been in service for more than 25 years. There are also more then 5500 small size vessels of different kinds for fishery within the inland waters.

Few new vessels have been built in the last years because the fishing companies preferred to modernize the existing tonnage. 

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mr. V. Ismailov in charge of fisheries, the recent analysis of the fish ports readiness for fish landing showed that at present in the fishery complex 10 fish ports are operating through which handling and exportation of fish is carried out. It is Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Hasansk, Petropalovsk-Kamchatskiy, Nevelsk, Holmsk, Magadan, Okhotsk (only for Russian vessels), Murmansk and Kaliningrad sea fish ports.

In fact, expressing support for proposed mandatory clearance of the catch made in the EEZ in Russian harbours, the Ministry of Agriculture has pointed out that it would be only reasonable to exercise the routine at the above ports as the specialization in fish and expertise of the officers would reduce clearance time for the vessels.

Dynamics of Russian catch by species 

The main fish catch's indicators over 2003-2009 period, INFOLine data, (ROSSTAT of RF)



2003 fact 

2004 fact 

2005 fact 

2006 (provisional)

2007 forecast

2008 forecast

2009 forecast


Thousand  tonnes



3 178

3 200

3 600

3 800

4 000

The main fishery regions are in the Northwest (Murmansk-led North Basin + Kaliningrad-led West Basin) contributing about 40% to the nation's catch and Vladivostok-led Russian Far East Basin contributing about 56%.

In the catch structure in 2005 half of the volume relied on 3 main fish species: Alaska pollock with 29 % or 957 thousand metric tons, herring 11 % or 345 thousand tonnes and blue whiting 10 % or 327 thousand tonnes. ТОР -10 fish species made up 76 % of the total catch in 2005.

Top-10 of Russia's catches by species

During the 11 months of the year 2006 the Russian catch of fish and other water bio resources in the foreign EEZs, convention areas, and open part of the world ocean amounted to 770.9 thousand tonnes, 6.6 thousand tonnes or 0.9% up on same period of the last year (764.3 thousand tonnes). Over the 11 month period in the Moroccan zone the sardinella catch increased by 5.9 thousand tons, that of mackerel by 17.5 thousand tonnes while in the Norwegian zone the herring harvest rose by 18.9 thousand tonnes.

In the inland sea waters, territorial sea, Exclusive Economic zone and Russian Federation  continental shelf  zone, and also Sea of Azov , Caspian Sea the total catch amounted to 2236.3 thousand tonnes or 25.8 thousand tonnes (1,2%) more than in the same period of 2005 (2210.5 thousand tonnes).

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